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Re: [mythsoc] How does myth "work"?

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  • James Curcio
    What I can offer to this question is two sided. One, looking at myth as a personal phenomenon as well as a cultural one:
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 19, 2012
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      What I can offer to this question is two sided.

      One, looking at myth as a personal phenomenon as well as a cultural one:

      http://www.modernmythology.net/p/what-is-modern-myth.html

      Second, looking at the predomenant myth of our times, though this is an excerpt from a much longer book that goes more in depth:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/55984853/IoM-is-Myth-Dead (feel free to skip the intro though it has a few things that may be useful.) This book was taught in several classes at SUNY Binghamton so it could be a worthwhile reference for you depending on your angle of approach.

      I hope these are at all helpful to you or others on the list.

      JC

      --------------------------------------------------
      Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: http://www.mythosmedia.net
      The Modern Mythology blog: http://www.modernmythology.net

      --------------------------------------------------




      On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 7:54 AM, dimwoo <dimwoo@...> wrote:
       

      Hi mythsoc,

      Long-time lurker here. I'm hoping for some help understanding something. I am writing an essay (for no better reason than to clarify my thoughts) in which I am attempting to define the Self - one's psychological sense of identity - as a story or myth, rather than some inherent function of the brain like memory or sensation. So I'm puzzling about the nature of myth.

      I've read quite a bit of and around Tolkien, and in Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics" he writes:

      "The significance of myth is not easily to be pinned on paper by analytical reasoning. It is at its best when it is presented by a poet who feels rather than makes explicit what his theme portends; who presents it incarnate in the world of history and geography, as our poet has done. Its defender is thus at a disadvantage: unless he is careful, and speaks in parables, he will kill what he is studying by vivisection, and he will be left with a formal and mechanical allegory, and, what is more, probably with one that will not work. For myth is alive at once and in all its parts, and dies before it can be dissected. It is possible, I think, to be moved by the power of myth and yet to misunderstand the sensation, to ascribe it wholly to something else that is also present: to metrical art, style, or verbal skill. Correct and sober taste may refuse to admit that there can be an interest for US - the proud WE that includes all intelligent people - in ogres and dragons; we then perceive its puzzlement in face of the odd fact that it has derived great pleasure from a poem that is actually about these unfashionable creatures."

      Key to me here is the line "myth is alive at once and in all its parts, and dies before it can be dissected". Which matches something I read once and ascribed to Tolkien but can't now find, something along the lines of "myth tells a story containing truths that cannot be told in any other way".

      What I'm puzzled by is how myth achieves this. Tolkien above denies that it is through craft: metre & rhyme etc. Lewis says the same thing in his preface to "George MacDonald: 365 Readings":

      "The critical problem [for the literary critic] is whether this art —the art of myth-making — is a species of the literary art. The objection to so classifying it is that the Myth does not essentially exist in words at all. We all agree that the story of Balder is a great myth, a thing of inexhaustible value. But of whose version — whose words — are we thinking when we say this?
      For my own part, the answer is that I am not thinking of anyone's words. No poet, as far as I know or can remember, has told the story supremely well. I am not thinking of any particular version of it. If the story is anywhere embodied in words, that is almost an accident. What really delights and nourishes me is a particular pattern of events, which would equally delight and nourish if it had reached me by some medium which involved no words at all — say by a mime, or a film...
      In a myth — in a story where the mere pattern of events is all that matters — this is not so. Any means of communication whatever which succeeds in lodging those events in our imagination has, as we say, `done the trick'. In poetry the words are the body and the `theme' or `content' is the soul. But in myth the imagined events are the body and something inexpressible is the soul: the words, or mime, or film, or pictorial series are not even clothes — they are not much more than a telephone..."

      Is the answer then that myth 'works' by strongly invoking the imagination, by using monsters and magic and other phantasmagorical elements? Is it myth because it summons a strongly imaginative response that more powerfully places you IN the story than any other mode, and leapfrogs over a more detached and discriminatory critical or literary reading?

      Is the difference between myth and poetry that poetry *does* use primarily literary effects, but in surprising new juxtapositions and metaphors (as detailed by Barfield in Poetic Diction) in order to imaginatively create new meanings?

      With myth though that can't be the whole story. There is a 'mythic mode'. Tolkien does use literary devices e.g. formal archaic language for the higher myth portions of LOTR and pretty much throughout the Silmariilion. Also I've gleaned that in myth characters are deliberately one-dimensional, representing a particular abstract principle or truth (to vastly dumb down: dragons=death or disaster, earth goddess = nature, magic rings = evil etc) rather than being a modern everyman whose inner dilemmas and anxieties are exposed within the text. This is along the lines of Lewis' concept of myth in 'God and the Dock' where he presents the dilemma of the incommensurability between Knowing and Experiencing:

      "This is our dilemma — either to taste and not to know or to know and not to taste —or, more strictly, to lack one kind of knowledge because we are outside it. As thinkers we are cut off from what we think about; as tasting, touching, willing, living, hating, we do not clearly understand. The more lucidly we think, the more we are cut off: the more deeply we enter into reality, the less we can think. You cannot study Pleasure in the moment of the nuptial embrace, nor repentance while repenting, not analyse the nature of humour while roaring with laughter. But when else can you really know these things? `If only my toothache would stop, I could write another chapter about Pain.' But once it stops, what do I know about pain?
      Of this tragic dilemma myth is the partial solution. In the enjoyment of a great myth we come nearest to experiencing as a concrete what can otherwise be understood only as an abstraction. At this moment, for example, I am trying to understand something very abstract indeed — the fading, vanishing of tasted reality as we try to grasp it with the discursive reason. Probably I have made heavy weather of it. But if I remind you, instead, of Orpheus and Eurydice, how he was suffered to lead her by the hand but, when he turned round to look at her, she disappeared, what was merely a principle becomes imaginable. You may reply that you never till this moment attached that `meaning' to that myth. Of course not. You are not looking for an abstract `meaning' at all. If that was what you were doing the myth would be for you not true myth but a mere allegory. You were not knowing, but tasting; but what your tasting turns out to be a universal principle. The moment we state this principle, we are admittedly back in the world of abstraction. It is only while receiving the myth as a story that you experience the principle concretely."

      What I gather from this is:

      When we translate a myth we get abstraction: truths about reality.
      What flows into us from myth is reality (what truths are 'about').
      Myth is not abstract like truth.
      Myth is not bound to the particular like experience.
      Myth is a dramatised synthesis of both knowledge and experience that is created within and apprehended by the imagination.
      Myth thus creates Meaning by imbuing quantitative reality with qualitative significance.

      Would posters here agree?

      For extra points (redeemable in all Faery outlets), is the self a myth? It has similar properties. It is irreducible, in that if you too dispassionately study it you 'break' it i.e. become alienated from one's own identity. It is a narrative. It is imaginative rather than purely intellectual or emotional (though it partakes of both). It could be described as an embodiment of accumulated knowledge and experience...

      Thanks for any suggestions. Sorry for such a long post.


    • Boldingbroke
      I look at Myth as in a way, the collective conscious of a society, and as related to the individual, an attempt to connect to and tie into that societal
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 19, 2012
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        I look at Myth as in a way, the collective conscious of a society, and as related to the individual, an attempt to connect to and tie into that societal self-definition. We tell stories because we don't always have the words to convey the concepts with  the same power a story can deliver. So a myth is to me a story that embodies the collective societal awareness of a "people identity."
         
        Just my two cents,
        Sharon Bolding (also lurker)

        On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 4:54 AM, dimwoo <dimwoo@...> wrote:
         

        Hi mythsoc,

        Long-time lurker here. I'm hoping for some help understanding something. I am writing an essay (for no better reason than to clarify my thoughts) in which I am attempting to define the Self - one's psychological sense of identity - as a story or myth, rather than some inherent function of the brain like memory or sensation. So I'm puzzling about the nature of myth.

        I've read quite a bit of and around Tolkien, and in Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics" he writes:

        "The significance of myth is not easily to be pinned on paper by analytical reasoning. It is at its best when it is presented by a poet who feels rather than makes explicit what his theme portends; who presents it incarnate in the world of history and geography, as our poet has done. Its defender is thus at a disadvantage: unless he is careful, and speaks in parables, he will kill what he is studying by vivisection, and he will be left with a formal and mechanical allegory, and, what is more, probably with one that will not work. For myth is alive at once and in all its parts, and dies before it can be dissected. It is possible, I think, to be moved by the power of myth and yet to misunderstand the sensation, to ascribe it wholly to something else that is also present: to metrical art, style, or verbal skill. Correct and sober taste may refuse to admit that there can be an interest for US - the proud WE that includes all intelligent people - in ogres and dragons; we then perceive its puzzlement in face of the odd fact that it has derived great pleasure from a poem that is actually about these unfashionable creatures."

        Key to me here is the line "myth is alive at once and in all its parts, and dies before it can be dissected". Which matches something I read once and ascribed to Tolkien but can't now find, something along the lines of "myth tells a story containing truths that cannot be told in any other way".

        What I'm puzzled by is how myth achieves this. Tolkien above denies that it is through craft: metre & rhyme etc. Lewis says the same thing in his preface to "George MacDonald: 365 Readings":

        "The critical problem [for the literary critic] is whether this art —the art of myth-making — is a species of the literary art. The objection to so classifying it is that the Myth does not essentially exist in words at all. We all agree that the story of Balder is a great myth, a thing of inexhaustible value. But of whose version — whose words — are we thinking when we say this?
        For my own part, the answer is that I am not thinking of anyone's words. No poet, as far as I know or can remember, has told the story supremely well. I am not thinking of any particular version of it. If the story is anywhere embodied in words, that is almost an accident. What really delights and nourishes me is a particular pattern of events, which would equally delight and nourish if it had reached me by some medium which involved no words at all — say by a mime, or a film...
        In a myth — in a story where the mere pattern of events is all that matters — this is not so. Any means of communication whatever which succeeds in lodging those events in our imagination has, as we say, `done the trick'. In poetry the words are the body and the `theme' or `content' is the soul. But in myth the imagined events are the body and something inexpressible is the soul: the words, or mime, or film, or pictorial series are not even clothes — they are not much more than a telephone..."

        Is the answer then that myth 'works' by strongly invoking the imagination, by using monsters and magic and other phantasmagorical elements? Is it myth because it summons a strongly imaginative response that more powerfully places you IN the story than any other mode, and leapfrogs over a more detached and discriminatory critical or literary reading?

        Is the difference between myth and poetry that poetry *does* use primarily literary effects, but in surprising new juxtapositions and metaphors (as detailed by Barfield in Poetic Diction) in order to imaginatively create new meanings?

        With myth though that can't be the whole story. There is a 'mythic mode'. Tolkien does use literary devices e.g. formal archaic language for the higher myth portions of LOTR and pretty much throughout the Silmariilion. Also I've gleaned that in myth characters are deliberately one-dimensional, representing a particular abstract principle or truth (to vastly dumb down: dragons=death or disaster, earth goddess = nature, magic rings = evil etc) rather than being a modern everyman whose inner dilemmas and anxieties are exposed within the text. This is along the lines of Lewis' concept of myth in 'God and the Dock' where he presents the dilemma of the incommensurability between Knowing and Experiencing:

        "This is our dilemma — either to taste and not to know or to know and not to taste —or, more strictly, to lack one kind of knowledge because we are outside it. As thinkers we are cut off from what we think about; as tasting, touching, willing, living, hating, we do not clearly understand. The more lucidly we think, the more we are cut off: the more deeply we enter into reality, the less we can think. You cannot study Pleasure in the moment of the nuptial embrace, nor repentance while repenting, not analyse the nature of humour while roaring with laughter. But when else can you really know these things? `If only my toothache would stop, I could write another chapter about Pain.' But once it stops, what do I know about pain?
        Of this tragic dilemma myth is the partial solution. In the enjoyment of a great myth we come nearest to experiencing as a concrete what can otherwise be understood only as an abstraction. At this moment, for example, I am trying to understand something very abstract indeed — the fading, vanishing of tasted reality as we try to grasp it with the discursive reason. Probably I have made heavy weather of it. But if I remind you, instead, of Orpheus and Eurydice, how he was suffered to lead her by the hand but, when he turned round to look at her, she disappeared, what was merely a principle becomes imaginable. You may reply that you never till this moment attached that `meaning' to that myth. Of course not. You are not looking for an abstract `meaning' at all. If that was what you were doing the myth would be for you not true myth but a mere allegory. You were not knowing, but tasting; but what your tasting turns out to be a universal principle. The moment we state this principle, we are admittedly back in the world of abstraction. It is only while receiving the myth as a story that you experience the principle concretely."

        What I gather from this is:

        When we translate a myth we get abstraction: truths about reality.
        What flows into us from myth is reality (what truths are 'about').
        Myth is not abstract like truth.
        Myth is not bound to the particular like experience.
        Myth is a dramatised synthesis of both knowledge and experience that is created within and apprehended by the imagination.
        Myth thus creates Meaning by imbuing quantitative reality with qualitative significance.

        Would posters here agree?

        For extra points (redeemable in all Faery outlets), is the self a myth? It has similar properties. It is irreducible, in that if you too dispassionately study it you 'break' it i.e. become alienated from one's own identity. It is a narrative. It is imaginative rather than purely intellectual or emotional (though it partakes of both). It could be described as an embodiment of accumulated knowledge and experience...

        Thanks for any suggestions. Sorry for such a long post.




        --
        Sharon L. Bolding, PhD
        Boldingbroke Consulting
        boldingbroke@...
        Skype: Boldingbroke
        206.334.5155
      • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
        Well, considering that I ve written a book about myth and storytelling (a reference for writers), I ve given a lot of thought to its presence in our lives. And
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 19, 2012
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          Well, considering that I've written a book about myth and storytelling (a
          reference for writers), I've given a lot of thought to its presence in our
          lives. And frankly, I think you're still being far to analytical in
          approaching the matter.

          As long as you stay in an analytic mode of thought in considering myth, it
          will stay exterior to you and feel rather dead.

          The major conclusion I came to while working on THE SCRIBBLER'S GUIDE TO
          THE LAND OF MYTH - is that myth is about meaning. The "truth" that myths
          convey all have to do with what things MEAN to us. The variances occur
          because some aspect of life may have a different meaning or priority to
          one group than it does to another. For instance, in arctic cultures, the
          sun is considered the fickle heavenly body because it goes away for six
          months of the year. The moon, even though it has a cycle, is constant.
          Thus, mythically, in arctic cultures, it is the sun that is feminine and
          the moon that is masculine. (Yes, we have an inherent biological
          inclination to regard "male" as the "stable, unchanging" quality and
          "female" as the one that goes through changes.)

          A personal myth will reflect what is importation to that particular
          individual, what has meaning and life to that person. It shows up in small
          ways in the way we as individuals personalize our space and possessions.
          For instance, people who name their cars and endow them with personality.
          Myth is about MEANING - and naming things is one way of creating meaning.
          What we name something, the significance of the name to us.

          Facts about things are straightforward and clear cut.

          Meanings about things are layered with many issues, and thus end up
          requiring a story to convey what is important.

          If you want to have or create a myth of your Self, then just start telling
          a story of meaning to you - or draw on some dream imagery that had such
          meaning for you. Dreams reflect our subconscious language for ourselves,
          and often are the source of the imagery for a personal myth.

          Here's an example of what I mean: My "personal myth" if you will, which
          became clear with a dream. In the dream, I was looking at a brick wall,
          but the bricks were the color of ash. And as I looked, I realized that the
          wall was actually encasing something. Whatever it was, moved, and the
          bricks fell apart, because they actually WERE ash. And underneath, I could
          see the gleaming, golden scales of a dragon - it was waking up, and
          beginning to break out of the encasement. And I knew that I was that
          dragon. This made me very happy.

          That's a "personal myth." I can break it down and analyse the significance
          of the elements of this dream/story. But I also happen to just like it as
          it is.

          A personal myth is what has meaning to you. You can't decide the meaning
          first and then concoct a story to follow. The meaning and the story are a
          unity, and the "truth" of it will not be obvious to you until you start
          telling the story. Don't try to work from the truth back to the story --
          that will only give you "facts." Just start telling the story and the
          truth will make itself known.

          That's my two cents on the issue.

          Best, Sarah Beach
        • James Curcio
          Don t mistake the vaguely academic tone in some of that material for an overly logical approach in regard to myths, directly. But there is talking ABOUT
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 19, 2012
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            Don't mistake the vaguely academic tone in some of that material for an overly logical approach in regard to myths, directly. But there is talking ABOUT something, and there is doing it. I do both, but when I'm in the analytical mode, how else does one write an essay? 

            --------------------------------------------------
            Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: http://www.mythosmedia.net
            The Modern Mythology blog: http://www.modernmythology.net

            --------------------------------------------------




            On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM, <scribbler@...> wrote:
             

            Well, considering that I've written a book about myth and storytelling (a
            reference for writers), I've given a lot of thought to its presence in our
            lives. And frankly, I think you're still being far to analytical in
            approaching the matter.

            As long as you stay in an analytic mode of thought in considering myth, it
            will stay exterior to you and feel rather dead.

            The major conclusion I came to while working on THE SCRIBBLER'S GUIDE TO
            THE LAND OF MYTH - is that myth is about meaning. The "truth" that myths
            convey all have to do with what things MEAN to us. The variances occur
            because some aspect of life may have a different meaning or priority to
            one group than it does to another. For instance, in arctic cultures, the
            sun is considered the fickle heavenly body because it goes away for six
            months of the year. The moon, even though it has a cycle, is constant.
            Thus, mythically, in arctic cultures, it is the sun that is feminine and
            the moon that is masculine. (Yes, we have an inherent biological
            inclination to regard "male" as the "stable, unchanging" quality and
            "female" as the one that goes through changes.)

            A personal myth will reflect what is importation to that particular
            individual, what has meaning and life to that person. It shows up in small
            ways in the way we as individuals personalize our space and possessions.
            For instance, people who name their cars and endow them with personality.
            Myth is about MEANING - and naming things is one way of creating meaning.
            What we name something, the significance of the name to us.

            Facts about things are straightforward and clear cut.

            Meanings about things are layered with many issues, and thus end up
            requiring a story to convey what is important.

            If you want to have or create a myth of your Self, then just start telling
            a story of meaning to you - or draw on some dream imagery that had such
            meaning for you. Dreams reflect our subconscious language for ourselves,
            and often are the source of the imagery for a personal myth.

            Here's an example of what I mean: My "personal myth" if you will, which
            became clear with a dream. In the dream, I was looking at a brick wall,
            but the bricks were the color of ash. And as I looked, I realized that the
            wall was actually encasing something. Whatever it was, moved, and the
            bricks fell apart, because they actually WERE ash. And underneath, I could
            see the gleaming, golden scales of a dragon - it was waking up, and
            beginning to break out of the encasement. And I knew that I was that
            dragon. This made me very happy.

            That's a "personal myth." I can break it down and analyse the significance
            of the elements of this dream/story. But I also happen to just like it as
            it is.

            A personal myth is what has meaning to you. You can't decide the meaning
            first and then concoct a story to follow. The meaning and the story are a
            unity, and the "truth" of it will not be obvious to you until you start
            telling the story. Don't try to work from the truth back to the story --
            that will only give you "facts." Just start telling the story and the
            truth will make itself known.

            That's my two cents on the issue.

            Best, Sarah Beach


          • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
            ... Oh, I quite agree that that is the difficulty about trying to get inside myth in order to write about it. Objective analysis keeps you outside looking
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 19, 2012
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              > Don't mistake the vaguely academic tone in some of that material for an
              > overly logical approach in regard to myths, directly. But there is talking
              > ABOUT something, and there is doing it. I do both, but when I'm in the
              > analytical mode, how else does one write an essay?

              Oh, I quite agree that that is the difficulty about trying to "get inside"
              myth in order to write about it. Objective analysis keeps you outside
              looking in, but you can be precise and use words with specificity. But to
              consider myth from inside is inevitably a subjective experience, because,
              as I said, myth is about meaning, about what "something means to me" or
              you (as the case may be). And subjective evaluations are slippery things.
              "Oh, that's just YOUR (subjective) opinion!" As though there was something
              nasty about subjective experience.

              As so, to write about myth in any way is a great challenge. There are no
              short answers. If you wish to consider what your personal myth would look
              like, you need to being by considering what things are important to you,
              and what imagery speaks most powerfully to you. Analytically speaking, you
              may be able to determine WHY those images have that power - which may or
              may not affect the way you shape your personal myth.
            • James Curcio
              I agree, I wrote and had published two books (one rather long - The Immanence of Myth) and one rather short (Apocalyptic Imaginary) on the subject. I don t
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 19, 2012
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                I agree, I wrote and had published two books (one rather long - The Immanence of Myth) and one rather short (Apocalyptic Imaginary) on the subject. I don't consider them final in any regard or form whatsoever. That wasn't the point. Nor do I consider them authoritative because on this issue there is no singular authority. But they do, I believe, come from a genuine place when you take it all in, and are meant to help other people find something for themselves. If in a somewhat labyrinthine way out of necessity. If that's helped even one person, I think I've accomplished something. I think from the student responses at least they seemed to really get something from it though they were admittedly rather baffled at first. 
                --------------------------------------------------
                Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: http://www.mythosmedia.net
                The Modern Mythology blog: http://www.modernmythology.net

                --------------------------------------------------




                On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 10:12 PM, <scribbler@...> wrote:
                 

                > Don't mistake the vaguely academic tone in some of that material for an
                > overly logical approach in regard to myths, directly. But there is talking
                > ABOUT something, and there is doing it. I do both, but when I'm in the
                > analytical mode, how else does one write an essay?

                Oh, I quite agree that that is the difficulty about trying to "get inside"
                myth in order to write about it. Objective analysis keeps you outside
                looking in, but you can be precise and use words with specificity. But to
                consider myth from inside is inevitably a subjective experience, because,
                as I said, myth is about meaning, about what "something means to me" or
                you (as the case may be). And subjective evaluations are slippery things.
                "Oh, that's just YOUR (subjective) opinion!" As though there was something
                nasty about subjective experience.

                As so, to write about myth in any way is a great challenge. There are no
                short answers. If you wish to consider what your personal myth would look
                like, you need to being by considering what things are important to you,
                and what imagery speaks most powerfully to you. Analytically speaking, you
                may be able to determine WHY those images have that power - which may or
                may not affect the way you shape your personal myth.


              • dimwoo
                Hi James, Thanks for your links, interesting reads. I also moved on to your Living Your Myth piece. The comment on Friedrich Schelling was especially
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 22, 2012
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                  Hi James,

                  Thanks for your links, interesting reads. I also moved on to your "Living Your Myth" piece.

                  The comment on Friedrich Schelling was especially pertinent to me:

                  "..set a new tone by rejecting all attempts to impose on myth a secondary `meaning,' be it euhemeristic or allegorical. Instead he applied to myth the term `tautological,' implying that it must be understood on its own terms as an autonomous configuration of the human spirit, with its own mode of reality and content that cannot be translated into rational terms."

                  This chimes very much with the Lewis and Tolkien quotes I posted and will be useful in my essay.

                  Weaponized.net is in Guildford? That's just down the road from here. Amazing how you can feel that no one shares your interests...

                  I haven't read your material closely. To me your definition of myth may be too broad to be useful. If we recognise the myths we live by, won't that then "kill" them?

                  Thanks


                  Steve




                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, James Curcio <jamescurcio@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > What I can offer to this question is two sided.
                  >
                  > One, looking at myth as a personal phenomenon as well as a cultural one:
                  >
                  > http://www.modernmythology.net/p/what-is-modern-myth.html
                  >
                  > Second, looking at the predomenant myth of our times, though this is an
                  > excerpt from a much longer book that goes more in depth:
                  >
                  > http://www.scribd.com/doc/55984853/IoM-is-Myth-Dead (feel free to skip the
                  > intro though it has a few things that may be useful.) This book was taught
                  > in several classes at SUNY Binghamton so it could be a worthwhile reference
                  > for you depending on your angle of approach.
                  >
                  > I hope these are at all helpful to you or others on the list.
                  >
                  > JC
                  >
                  > --------------------------------------------------
                  > *Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: *
                  > http://www.mythosmedia.net
                  > *The Modern Mythology blog:* http://www.modernmythology.net
                  >
                  > *Past work*: http://www.jamescurcio.com
                  > *My LinkedIn*: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescurcio
                  > --------------------------------------------------
                  > *
                  > *
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • James Curcio
                  Good question. I m not sure if there s a point in defining myth in a singular way. There s a chapter in The Immanence of Myth that deals with a series of
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 22, 2012
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                    Good question. 

                    I'm not sure if there's a point in defining myth in a singular way. There's a chapter in The Immanence of Myth that deals with a series of problems, or reasons why looking for a definition is kind of beside the point-- though I'll be the first to admit that that book is intentionally provisional in many ways, I don't pretend finality on any issue.

                    I think what is more important is looking at the different ways that the word is used, if you want to look externally - but my focus is much more on the internal, in which case the focus is instead on the narrative process through which we come to know ourselves, which is the closest I would come to a definition of myth- myself. The fact that it resonates with many people, transmits, and transforms over time through the collective needs of those time speaks to, I think, the common elements of our mutual experience. 

                    --------------------------------------------------
                    Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: http://www.mythosmedia.net
                    The Modern Mythology blog: http://www.modernmythology.net

                    --------------------------------------------------




                    On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 9:19 AM, dimwoo <dimwoo@...> wrote:
                     

                    Hi James,

                    Thanks for your links, interesting reads. I also moved on to your "Living Your Myth" piece.

                    The comment on Friedrich Schelling was especially pertinent to me:

                    "..set a new tone by rejecting all attempts to impose on myth a secondary `meaning,' be it euhemeristic or allegorical. Instead he applied to myth the term `tautological,' implying that it must be understood on its own terms as an autonomous configuration of the human spirit, with its own mode of reality and content that cannot be translated into rational terms."

                    This chimes very much with the Lewis and Tolkien quotes I posted and will be useful in my essay.

                    Weaponized.net is in Guildford? That's just down the road from here. Amazing how you can feel that no one shares your interests...

                    I haven't read your material closely. To me your definition of myth may be too broad to be useful. If we recognise the myths we live by, won't that then "kill" them?

                    Thanks

                    Steve

                    --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, James Curcio <jamescurcio@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > What I can offer to this question is two sided.
                    >
                    > One, looking at myth as a personal phenomenon as well as a cultural one:
                    >
                    > http://www.modernmythology.net/p/what-is-modern-myth.html
                    >
                    > Second, looking at the predomenant myth of our times, though this is an
                    > excerpt from a much longer book that goes more in depth:
                    >
                    > http://www.scribd.com/doc/55984853/IoM-is-Myth-Dead (feel free to skip the
                    > intro though it has a few things that may be useful.) This book was taught
                    > in several classes at SUNY Binghamton so it could be a worthwhile reference
                    > for you depending on your angle of approach.
                    >
                    > I hope these are at all helpful to you or others on the list.
                    >
                    > JC
                    >
                    > --------------------------------------------------
                    > *Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: *
                    > http://www.mythosmedia.net
                    > *The Modern Mythology blog:* http://www.modernmythology.net
                    >
                    > *Past work*: http://www.jamescurcio.com
                    > *My LinkedIn*: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescurcio
                    > --------------------------------------------------
                    > *
                    > *
                    >
                    >
                    >


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